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Nintendo Businesses Entertainment Games

GDC - Miyamoto Delivers Developer-Focused Keynote 84

The legendary Shigeru Miyamoto brought attendees of last night's Game Developer's Choice Awards to their feet when he received the Lifetime Achievement award. Today, Miyamoto had the chance to share the vision Nintendo used when designing the DS and the Wii. In a keynote focused solely on development, he outlined the three keys to their corporate vision, and the elements that make up his own outlook on game design. No explosive new titles or plans were announced, but in its own way Miyamoto's quiet call to arms was powerful and exciting. Read on for a few notes of my own, and links to coverage from other sites.
With an enthusiastic introduction from GDC director Jamil Moledina, the keynote beings. A GDC 07 Keynote Wii Channel is shown on screen, and the crowd goes nuts as a Jamil and Miyamoto Miis are displayed. Bill Toyden is there as well to translate. Miyamoto-san is here today to illustrate three points about the Nintendo vision, and their corporate outlook.

The first is the concept of expanded audience. He illustrates using a very humorous story about the notching up of the 'wife-o-meter'. Miyamoto's wife, historically not a big gamer, has been converted by games like Nintendogs, Wii Sports, and the concept behind the Wii.

The second concept is balance. At Nintendo, engineers and software developers work closely together. He talks about the development of the Wiimote, which was a long process involving numerous iterations and members from a number of different teams. They took the balance to the extreme, taking software and hardware discussions down blind alleys and in numerous directions. They wondered if they even needed a new console, with the advent of popular handheld systems.

He sees console-making as a responsibility, though. They have to make games, make fun games, and make tools available to allow game developers to make new and interesting experiences.

The third concept is risk.The company took on the challenge of questioning what exactly is a videogame. The DS and its games are the perfect example. The ultimate goal was fun, again. The Wii was the ultimate risk. GameCube was just a half step, with the large A button. With the Wii they had to choose to keep evolving the hardware or go down a new path.

There were concerns for everyone in the company. Miyamoto acted as an evangelist inside the company. "Don't think about what will be lost, concentrate on what will be gained." The more he talked about it with Mr. Iwata, the better both of them felt about it. It wasn't until last E3 when they knew the risk was worth taking.

Corporate vision is essential, but corps don't make videogames: people do. (Lots of cheers at that statement.) He wants to share his own personal vision, then. His primary focus in development is not individual elements; the vision that he keeps is the core element of fun in the game. He imagines the face of the gamer while they're playing the game. As an entertainer, he wants to be entertained.

Emotion, then, is what he focuses on. He wants things to be positive, but whatever emotion you're aiming for is fine. As long as you want to draw out something in specific from a player, you've succeeded.

I know these notes are very brief, but Mr. Miyamoto spoke at length in very high-level terms. Overall, I will say that the crowd seemed less attentive than it did at the end of Sony's event yesterday. Applause were still very loud when he brought his comments to an end, and my feeling was that many developers were affected by his words. On the way out through the crowds, many people were talking about how the statements he made applied to the work they did every single day. So despite Nintendo's decision not to make news today, Mr. Miyamoto still managed to affect the lives of the people in attendance today.
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GDC - Miyamoto Delivers Developer-Focused Keynote

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  • by oGMo ( 379 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @05:45PM (#18281430)

    I've heard about constraints on Nintendo giving info due to stock goings-on [gamasutra.com], but labelling this as "developer-oriented" instead of "boring fluff" is a cop-out. It wasn't interesting: especially to developers. Interesting would be demos of new motion-sensing and touchscreen concepts. Interesting would be the forward direction of Nintendo platforms and the tools Nintendo will be providing. Miyamoto parroting earlier propaganda is not interesting.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Informative)

    by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @07:02PM (#18282670) Homepage Journal
    The Japanese market for video games had been shrinking for some time up until the release of the DS. Before that hand held came onto the scene, it was a much discussed issue. There didn't seem to be anything that was slowing or stopping the crumbling of the market and a lot of people were at a loss for what to do. The effect was also beginning in the US.

    The DS revitalized the Japanese Market which, starting at a peak in 1997, had shrunk steadily to 60% of its former size by 2003. Here's a brief report on a study [gamespot.com] released in 2004 concerning this. It wasn't a straight decline, as evidenced by a few notes in this [www.fpcj.jp] report, but a severe decline none the less.

    The DS was explicitly Nintendo's answer to this problem, and it's undeniably worked.
  • by Dorceon ( 928997 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @07:08PM (#18282776)
    Miyamoto was prevented from making forward looking statements because Nintendo recently asked the Japanese government to sell their Nintendo holdings on the open market, requiring a quiet period similar to those around other stock offerings.
  • by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis.gmail@com> on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:10PM (#18283496) Homepage
    Hehehe, wait 3-4 months. Not only will there be a few more games out but there will likely be plenty of Wiis to go around.

    In the advent that there aren't, the market for games will shrivel up and you'll count yourself lucky not investing in it. ... Not that I think the Wii will fail in the short term. Just saying there is a bonus to waiting.
  • by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Thursday March 08, 2007 @08:43PM (#18283812)
    I got mine at a Toys R' Us, because I heard they were getting some in. I got there 30 minutes early, and they still had roughly 15 left by the time I had left. There were only a handful of people behind me, so I guess after the first wave left there must have been 10 or so left. Still quite a ways away from being widely available, but the demand is starting to approach supply levels. Given another two or so months, I'd expect to be able to find them on shelves.

    In the meantime, if you really want one, find a bunch of stores in the area and make a habit of calling and figuring out when they get them in. Stores less frequented by gamers or the masses are better. Toys R' Us, Sams Club, etc.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern